The Arrival of Spring 

Hey kids! When winter is going to finish, you notice it at once! It is sufficient to cast a glance outside and you know it. There are small but clear signs: for esample you can see the wood whistling a scented spring melody, dressed in his Sunday best, looking at himseif in the mirror of the thawing lake.

There is no way, even the silliest animal realizes it and in a state of euphoria starts to get excited too, to become as attractive and fit as possible The problem is that everyone realizes it at the same time, like a magic BANG! And the winter peace is broken.

Small and big birds prepare their nests twittering and fluttering here and there; mother hare trains her noisy band of leverets for running, rumbling through the fields; the ducks squawk at their babies to teach them how to swim; the ducklings squawk because they would like to run after the leverets; and moreover the nigithingale, at the top of the larch, tries his repertory of serenades again and again. Goodbye blessed hibernation.... Even if you want to, with all that bustle outside, you cannot doze carelessly in your hole. You are obliged to go outside.

The only one te maintain his calm in all this excitement is my cousin Dormouse. He is really special! Unaware of all that ferment he goes on sleeping lazily in his home as if nothing was happening outside. For this reason he becomes a target for constant humour and jokes on behalf of the others. Last year for example we made him to believe that Spring was a beautiful young girl, who every year comes from the valley up to the wood. The first to see and meet her deserves a kiss and the honour to open her basket full of flowers, colours and scented berries, officially inaugurating the new season. You should have seen Dormouse's face: he swore it would be him to win the kiss and to open the basket that year. He had fallen into the trap!

This year Woodpecker remembered the trick and went to knock on his ears.

"Come on! Wake up! How can you sleep? Can't you hear the preparations for the arrival of Spring? We must welcome her and open her basket. Everybody's ready! Quick! Go and wash in the stream without wasting time: Spring's here!"

You should have seen him: with his eyes half-closed, stunned by sleep, a little afraid and looking like a foolish, he rushed along the path as if his tail had caught fire. What a funny scene! We burst out laughing. But round the corner: BANG! "Typical BANG of a dormouse against a tree!" said the crow scornfully. "No, no!" - echoed the fox - typical BANG of a dormouse against a rock!" We laughed again. "Letıs go and see if the bump has woken him up!"

So everybody ran along the path to see what had happened. But just round the corner......."NO......" - says someone - "Incredible!"

We are all taken aback.

In the middle ol the path there is Dormouse practically in the arms of a splendid girl who, in a voice as sweet as honey, is saying: "Your attentions are touching me so much, Dormouse. It's just as well somebody remembered to welcome me. You deserve a big kiss!" SMACK! "Typical SMACK of kiss on your forehead" - I am thinking looking at the scene incredulously." I think It's up to you to open my basket and to take the new season into the wood" goes on the girlıs sweet voice. Dormouse is embarrassed and more incredulous than everybody else. He turns to us and, with his puzzled and stunned smile, opens the basket. BANG!!!

Typical BANG of Spring spreading through the wood.